New Release Review: Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

Breaking Nova (3)Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen
Book #1 in the Nova trilogy
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publication Date: 3 September 2013
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Forever

Synopsis from Goodreads: Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she’s getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn’t want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he’s done, what he’s lost. He’s sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he’s too damaged to get close to her, yet she’s the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

Christal’s Review – 3 Skulls – C+

I loved Jessica Sorensen’s books about Callie & Kayden and Ella & Micah, but Nova and Quinton just didn’t do it for me.  Breaking Nova had a much stronger focus on drug use and suicide than any of the other books and I think it was also missing the sense of hope the other stories had.  This one was really bleak and, in the end, I wasn’t even rooting for the two leads to be together.

Nova Reed lost both her father and her boyfriend by the age of 18.  Her father died from a coronary event while they were riding bikes when Nova was twelve and her boyfriend, Landon, committed suicide six years later, leaving Nova the one to find his body.  The story picks up one year later and Nova is still justifiably messed up.  She hasn’t really dealt with her grief and is just barely making it through her days.  She returns home from college for the summer and finds that being back in her home town might not be the best thing.

Quinton Carter was the designated driver at a party one night with his girlfriend, Lexie, and female cousin.  As they were driving, his drunk girlfriend tried to stand up and put her body out the passenger window.  Quinton tried to pull her back in the car, but the curve he was approaching was very sharp and he ended up hitting another car.  He was the only one wearing a seatbelt and ultimately, both his girlfriend and cousin died.  He promised Lexie that he would never love anyone as much as her and instead, turned to drugs to dull his pain.  He blames himself for the deaths and doesn’t believe that he deserves to have anything good in life.

Nova and Quinton were both very depressing characters.  Yes, they both faced terrible hardships in their lives but it’s like they both just give up.  They really make no effort to live on for those they lost, choosing instead to drift away in a haze of drugs and alcohol.  Nova was the clichéd broken girl with doe eyes that just drives men to want to save her.  Ugh!  I didn’t really connect or sympathize with her for most of Breaking Nova, but at the end she finally makes a turn for the better.  Once she realizes just what she is doing and finds the courage to watch the video Landon left behind, she decides to turn her life around and start living for what’s important.  That’s a Nova I can get behind!  She is truly smart and spunky, but it was muted through most of Breaking Nova because of the drugs and alcohol so I am interested to see how her character will be in the next book.  Quinton didn’t really have any redeeming arc for me.  I don’t particularly like him or feel that bad for him any more.  I just want to tell him to man up and quite whining.  I don’t see him as a viable romantic lead and have no clue why anyone, especially Nova, would want to be with him.

I also didn’t buy into the romance between Nova and Quinton.  They were drugged out or drunk for most of their interactions so nothing between them ever felt truly genuine.  Heck, Nova only looked twice at Quinton in the first place because he reminded her of Landon.  She didn’t even know about the car wreck until the epilogue of the book.  They don’t know anything about one another, have no true basis for a relationship, and do not make one another better people.  Based on the events of Breaking Nova, I really don’t want Nova and Quinton to be together.  I think maybe they could eventually be friends, but any further relationship just seems toxic.

Breaking Nova also lacked the good supporting friend characters that most of Jessica Sorensen books have.  There was no Seth or Lila here, instead we have more druggies and bad friends in the form of Tristan, Delilah, and Dylan.  Delilah and Dylan were the worst – he was a drug dealer with violent tendencies and she was Nova’s supposed best friend that ends up abandoning her for drugs and a co-dependent relationship.  There is a glimmer of redemption in Tristan’s character.  He is Quinton’s cousin and his sister was the female cousin that died in the car wreck.  He doesn’t do anything overtly terrible, but he is just a waste of character.  He doesn’t really affect Quinton or Nova’s lives for the positive and is just kind of… around… to get into situations with them.

I am not sold on the plot thread of Nova “saving” Quinton unlike she was able to do with Landon, but I think I will check out the next book to see if Quinton can save himself.  Nova has just barely gotten her life back together and I don’t think she needs to focus on anyone else.  Plus, I don’t think it will be healthy for her to be back around the druggie lifestyle Quinton leads, nor do I think she is completely over comparing him to Landon.  I just don’t see how it will be a good thing for her, not do I see how she can “save” Quinton unless he wants to better himself.  He needs to make that choice personally, not have it forced upon him by Nova.  Breaking Nova does end with a patented Jessica Sorensen cliffhanger but I think this one was completely unnecessary this time.  Ms. Sorensen could have ended the book one chapter earlier and had a more finished story while still leaving plenty of plotlines for readers to follow until the next book.

I hate when I can’t connect to a book by an author I otherwise really enjoy, but Breaking Nova just didn’t work for me.  I think I will continue with the next book just to see if Ms. Sorensen can turn things around, but I won’t be waiting for it excitedly like I do with The Secret series or The Redemption series.  If you like the emotion in Ms. Sorensen books, then definitely check this one out.  Just be aware that it is much bleaker and depressing than her previous entries and that it has a very heavy focus on drug use and suicide.

Thank you to Netgalley and Forever for providing an ARC copy of this book!

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

 

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